Wildwood Mennonite Church (Engadine, Michigan, USA)

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Wildwood Mennonite Church emerged from the mid-20th-century rural church planting movement of Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference (Mennonite Church).

In 1939, Bernice LaBar Dwyer (1905-1982), a resident of the Sandtown community located between the villages of Engadine and Curtis in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, invited Mennonites from the Fernland (later Germfask) Mennonite Church to hold a summer Bible school in her neighborhood. Fernland pastor Chester Osborne did so, beginning in June 1939, and asked the Indiana-Michigan Conference mission board to send workers to organize a church at Sandtown. In April 1940, the board ordained Clarence Troyer (1907-1997) of Howe, Indiana, for this purpose, and the next month Clarence and Wavia Troyer (1908-1987) and their four children moved to the Upper Peninsula.

By the end of 1940, Troyer had baptized nine individuals from the Dwyer, Gage, and Adams families. Within several years, additional households, including the Osterhout, Rupright, and Allen families, had joined the church.

In 1945, the conference mission board arranged for the purchase of an abandoned one-room school built in 1884, remodeled it, and renamed it Wildwood Mennonite Church.

In 1948, Clarence Troyer was ordained bishop for the Mennonite churches in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. By 1952 there would be ten such congregations scattered across more than 150 miles. The travel required by this role led Troyer to ask for ministerial assistance at Wildwood.

In 1952 Wildwood played a central role in planning the first Upper Peninsula Mennonite Youth Camp. That summer ministry continued annually for decades and was eventually located at Northwoods Christian Camp, Pickford, Michigan. Wildwood’s community-wide summer Bible school, often drawing 150 or more children from the Engadine and Curtis areas, was another staple of the congregation during its first decades.

In 1956 Wildwood became a self-supporting church, independent of the mission board.

During 1985-1986 the church building was more than doubled in size with the addition of a new auditorium and six basement classrooms.

In the 21st century, the constraints of the local economy meant many young adults left the area, and there were few employment options for potential bi-vocational pastors. In 2007 leadership shifted to a team of lay members that included both men and women. In 2024, Wildwood remained affiliated with Mennonite Church USA.

Bibliography

Miller, Wendell. Personal email (22 May 2023).

Prater, Rosella. Mennonite Stirrings in “America's Playland'.” Naubinway, Mich.: the author, 1987.

Troyer, Clarence. The Mennonite Church in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Engadine, Mich.: the author, 1986.

Additional Information

Address: W15403 Sandtown Road, Engadine, Michigan 49827

Phone: 906-586-3336

Website: https://www.facebook.com/WildwoodMennoniteChurch/

Denominational Affiliations: Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference

Mennonite Church USA

Pastoral Leaders at Wildwood Mennonite Church

Name Years
of Service
Clarence Troyer (1907-1997) 1940-1977
Lloyd R. Miller (1920-2011) 1952-1965
Marvin Ketcham 1966-1971
John L. Troyer (1938-2022) 1975-2005
Rufus Martin (1933-2013) 1978-1979
James L. Gerber (Interim) 2005-2007
Lay Ministry Team 2007-present

Wildwood Mennonite Church Membership

Year Members
1945 22
1955 40
1965 42
1975 36
1985 42
1995 49
2005 40
2024 10

Original Mennonite Encyclopedia Article

By Wavia I. Troyer. Copied by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 952. All rights reserved.

Wildwood Mennonite Church (Mennonite Church), located at Curtis, Michigan, began in 1939 as a mission under the Indiana-Michigan board until 1956, when it became an independent congregation, with a sum­mer Bible school conducted by Chester Osborne. Clarence Troyer (1907-1997), a minister, came in the spring of 1940. The Beulah School was purchased in 1945 and converted into a meetinghouse. From this con­gregation the work at Naubinway and Brimley was started. Clarence Troyer was ordained bishop in 1948; in 1952 Lloyd R. Miller was ordained as assistant pastor of the congregation. They were still serving in 1959, when the membership was 32.


Author(s) Steven Nolt
Date Published May 2024

Cite This Article

MLA style

Nolt, Steven. "Wildwood Mennonite Church (Engadine, Michigan, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. May 2024. Web. 24 Jul 2024. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Wildwood_Mennonite_Church_(Engadine,_Michigan,_USA)&oldid=179058.

APA style

Nolt, Steven. (May 2024). Wildwood Mennonite Church (Engadine, Michigan, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 24 July 2024, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Wildwood_Mennonite_Church_(Engadine,_Michigan,_USA)&oldid=179058.




©1996-2024 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.